March 26, 2016
By Benjamin Zycher Economics may be the dismal science, and economists may be boring, but there really are a few eternal economic truths worthy of inscription in stone. The quantity of a good demanded declines as its price rises. Bigger economies demand more labor, that is, create more jobs. Economic distortions created by government may bestow benefits upon particular groups but, for the economy as a whole, harm the economic interests of both consumers and producers by reducing the size of the aggregate economic basket.
February 27, 2016 |
Stoutsburg Cemetery - located in Skillman, N.J., at the heel of the Sourland Mountains - has long served as an African American burial ground. Like many such places, it holds much unspoken history. Two trustees of the Stoutsburg Cemetery Association are unraveling those secrets - the stories behind unmarked slave graves around the cemetery - for a book to be published next year. Purchased in 1858 for people of color, Stoutsburg became the final resting place for local residents, including veterans of conflicts dating back to the American Revolution.
February 11, 2016
It's only relatively recently that Philly has been made to look cool on film. With some notable exceptions, like last year's Creed, the city has more often than not served as a nameless stand-in for crime dramas or action flicks in need of a grimy postindustrial backdrop. Name that abandoned factory or burned-out block and win a prize. But it's 2016. We're a city on the rise. So it was with much excitement and trepidation that I tuned in to watch the latest episode of the rebooted X-Files on Monday night.
February 1, 2016
Sofiya Ballin is an Inquirer staff writer I learned the most about black history in whispered tones while my mother braided my hair, after school when my father listened to talk radio, as my grandmother grated coconut, and at the dinner table set with shades of brown and opinion. In those moments I learned of the rise and destruction of Black Wall Street, the inhumanity of the Tuskegee Experiment, the tales of Angola's Queen Nzinga, the triumph of Queen Nanny of the Jamaican Maroons, and the Haitian revolution.
January 17, 2016 |
Sales and price numbers for 2015 won't be in for a while yet, but I have deemed it appropriate to share prognostications about 2016. Oh, no, another survey - this time of 2,000 people with time on their hands, conducted by the real estate search engine Trulia. (This column won't be all survey, I promise - a New Year's resolution I mean to keep.) First, Trulia says, Americans still want to own homes, despite the miserable years that began, for the Philadelphia region, at least, in the third quarter of 2007.
January 13, 2016
By Peter J. Wallison We can all agree that the financial crisis was caused by a "mortgage meltdown" mostly among subprime and other risky mortgages. But what neither The Big Short nor its greed narrative tells us is why there were so many of these mortgages in the financial system to begin with. The answer: It was not Wall Street. In June 2008, just before the crisis, more than half of all U.S. mortgages - 31 million loans - were subprime or otherwise risky. Of these, 76 percent were on the books of government agencies, primarily the government-sponsored enterprises (GSEs)
January 13, 2016 |
LATE LAST WEEK, as darkness draped the streets of West Philadelphia, Edward Archer was caught on video walking up to a police cruiser, extending his arm, and pumping 13 bullets into the vehicle, hitting Officer Jesse Hartnett three times. The gravely wounded officer returned fire, hitting the fleeing suspect, and Archer was captured shortly thereafter. But it wasn't the shooting that shocked the city. Nor was it the irony of Archer shooting Hartnett with a police service weapon that had been stolen from an officer's home in 2013.
October 30, 2015 |
If "Truth" wants to elicit sympathy for the journalists it portrays, then it's honest to a fault. "Truth" tells the story behind the infamous "60 Minutes II" story on the National Guard service record of then-president George W. Bush, a 2004 piece that ran in the midst of his re-election campaign. The movie is drawn from the memoir of Mary Mapes (Cate Blanchett), the CBS News producer assigned to assemble a team (including Dennis Quaid, Topher Grace, Elisabeth Moss) to ferret out the story in Texas.
October 20, 2015 |
In the college tuition game, the sticker prices are usually fake, but the money students and families pay is real. It's also often borrowed, leading to debts that make it difficult for graduates to start a family, buy a home, or take a risk on a business or career. Because there are too many losers in this game, it's encouraging that one local college has stopped playing. By resetting its tuition from $32,620 to $18,500, dropping room and board charges from $13,400 to $11,500, and making its pricing more transparent, Rosemont College has taken a bold step that could help unravel the daunting tangle of college costs.
October 7, 2015 |
HARRISBURG - Gov. Wolf on Monday called the legislature's planned vote this week on his budget - one that includes tax increases to boost education funding - "a once in a generation vote. " Legislators who vote Wednesday "don't want to be on the wrong side of history," Wolf told reporters during an invitation-only news conference at his residence. "We can't afford Republicans and Democrats - we need Pennsylvanians. We need people . . . who are looking beyond narrow partisanship. " The unusual campaign-style pitch was an opening salvo in a week that could reshape or define the impasse.